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WaterQ project - ICT at the service of environmental and human health protection

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On World Water Day, which is held annually on 22 March, we marked the official end of the first phase of WaterQ project, whose primary objective is to search into the applicability of information and communications technologies (ICT) and the concept of public collection of data in the assessment of risks and impact of water on human health.

Water is a natural, limited resource without which life on Earth is unsustainable. According to experts’ estimates, which are rather deplorable, over one billion of people worldwide has no access to a sufficient amount of drinking water. A great number of social and industrial factors, such as inadequate agricultural practice, unregulated industrial emissions, and not sufficiently effective sanitary infrastructure systems in urban and rural areas, accompanied by expected adverse effects of climate change, have a strong impact on the availability of water which is safe for people to use. This certainly poses an additional challenge to the public health system as well as to the effectiveness of the existing processes and tools for health impact assessment.

WaterQ consortium addresses topics such as ensuring long-term effectiveness and cost sustainability of the risk assessment process, based on active collaboration between citizens and the scientific community as well as on modern information and communications technologies (5G and IoT). Therefore, the consortium’s main task is to explore possibilities and impacts of new technologies on raising the level of water safety in the Republic of Croatia as well as to encourage the community to participate in data collection, while strengthening and raising awareness of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia on the importance of water quality and safety. The consortium is made up of Ericsson Nikola Tesla JSC, Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, and Freewa start-up.

Ericsson Nikola Tesla, as a regional ICT leader and the largest Croatian exporter of knowledge, in this project enables automated collection and transfer of water quality and safety key parameters, an advanced approach in comparative analyses of automatic measurements conducted in laboratory, and a simple visualization of analysis results. Collecting, processing, analyzing and presenting data for the needs of those working in public health will be conducted on an innovative ICT platform called “e-Environment”, which was developed by Ericsson Nikola Tesla’s experts.

Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, as the representative of the preventive part of public health system, ensures domain knowledge and deep understanding of challenges in the field of health ecology, in the assessment and new approaches to risk management. The institute’s role in the WaterQ consortium is to define parameters that need to be monitored, to correlate automatically collected data and official laboratory measurements, as well as to analyze, interpret and inform all the stakeholders on the results of risk assessments and possible impacts on human health.

Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, participates as a partner in the creation of a portable sensor prototype for the automatic tracking of water parameters. The sensor will monitor pH value, electrical conductivity, temperature and water turbidity, and the measured data will arrive on the e-Environment platform via a mobile network for further analysis.

FreeWa start-up project undertakes activities of mapping locations with free drinking water across the world. Freewa application and a web map show the user the location of the nearest free drinking water (a well or a natural source). In the WaterQ project, FreeWa is a user interface for the transfer of information to all the interested citizens.

Additional information on the project can be found on the website.

Communications Ericsson Nikola Tesla


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